I love my girlfriends. They seriously mean the world to me and make ‘doing life’ so much easier. I have been so blessed to have so many amazing friendships in my life. Not only do I have a sister that is my best friend, I have many friends that I consider sisters. One of the things that has been so important to me in my life is an annual weekend away with a particular group of girlfriends (8 of us to be exact). We have been doing this a long time now… at least 15 years. A lot has changed over these years. We have gone through a lot together. We have walked with each other through marriages, break-ups, moves, new jobs, pregnancies, miscarriages, losing parents and becoming parents. Some of it has been amazing and led us to celebrate. Some of it has rocked us and brought us together in more solemn ways. Through it all we are always there for one another. We have cried together, laughed so hard we have peed, and cheered each other on from a distance as we each walk our own path. Sometimes we don’t talk, text or email as often as we would like. Life is busy these days with parenting, working and other ‘adulting’ responsibilities that can take over. We also don’t live in the same neighbourhood anymore; we are spread out in different cities and provinces. This annual weekend away has become one of the highlights of my year and fills me up.
Not all of us can make it every time. Sickness, work, pregnancy, young babies, distance, and life have sometimes prevented all of us from being on every trip. When one person cannot make it we celebrate them, facetime them and talk about how much we love them and miss them. We hold them in our hearts as if they were there. When we get together it is like no time has passed, we always just pick up where we left off. We never have to be anyone but ourselves. These weekends are our chance to let our guards down and say the truth – even if the truth is that life is not good right now, or that life is easy breezy, it does not matter. We get to show up as we are and we are accepted. That can be a rare feeling in this world. Sometimes these trips are wild and crazy, other times they are active and adventurous, and sometimes we do little except eat, drink and chat until the wee hours. All of them are precious to me.
We have a lot in common (especially our long, shared history), but we are also different. We have different political views, religious views, taste in music, opinions on parenting, and loads of other things. This is what I love about us. These women challenge me and call me out when I need to be called out and love and support me when I need a little TLC.
I know not everyone has this; we are blessed to have each other as extended sisters and we don’t take it for granted. I think this is why we have made these trips a priority – we know how special they are.
Here are some things that I think make a girls’ weekends a success
Be flexible! Not everyone is in the same place when they show up. One person might need to go out blow off steam, another might need to hunker down. Plan an assortment of things so everyone gets a bit of what they need.
We love to have a bit of adventure on most of our trips. Skiing, hiking, camping, kayaking, surfing and biking are just some of the things we have done. A little adventure is awesome for bonding.
Good food and drinks (I probably should have put this first on my list!) We do a lot of eating on these trips! We know how to eat.
Plan ahead. Everyone is busy and has loads of other commitments so give people as much lead up time as possible.
Most important, make this a priority. I don’t see this as some luxury IF I can find the time, it is an essential part of my self care.
6. Have some smaller, low key trips and then some big ticket trips. Have some close to home and some further away. Variety is key! Remember in the end, it has little to do with the where and what… it is all about the who.
I seriously thank God every day for the amazing women in my life. Not just these ‘weekend away’ gals, but all the women in life. Thank you!!!
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